Mapping of meteorological observations over the island of Ireland to enhance the understanding and prediction of rain erosion in wind turbine blades

Nash, James W. K. and Zekos, Iasonas and Stack, Margaret M. (2021) Mapping of meteorological observations over the island of Ireland to enhance the understanding and prediction of rain erosion in wind turbine blades. Energies, 14 (15). 4555. ISSN 1996-1073

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    Abstract

    Leading edge erosion is becoming increasingly important as wind turbine size and rainfall are predicted to increase. Understanding environmental conditions is key for laboratory testing, maintenance schedules and lifetime estimations to be improved, which in turn could reduce costs. This paper uses weather data in conjunction with a rain texture model and wind turbine RPM curve to predict and characterise rain erosion conditions across Ireland during rainfall events in terms of droplet size, temperature, humidity and chemical composition, as well as the relative erosivity, in terms of number of annual impacts and kinetic energy, as well as seasonal variations in these properties. Using a linear regression, the total annual kinetic energy, mean temperature and the mean humidity during impact are mapped geospatially. The results indicate that the west coast of Ireland and elevated regions are more erosive with higher kinetic energy. During rain events, northern regions tend to have lower temperatures and lower humidities and mountainous regions have lower temperatures and higher humidities. Irish rain has high levels of sea salt, and in recent years, only a slightly acidic pH. Most erosion likely occurs during winters with frequent rain infused with salt due to increased winds. After this analysis, it is concluded that Ireland’s largest wind park (Galway) is placed in a moderate-highly erosive environment and that RET protocols should be revisited.

    ORCID iDs

    Nash, James W. K., Zekos, Iasonas ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1940-7877 and Stack, Margaret M. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6535-6014;